Passover began this week.

Since it’s such an important holiday for the Jewish people, I wanted to share a little bit about what Passover is and how it relates to freedom.

Passover is an important Jewish festival.

It commemorates the Jewish exodus from Egypt and the Israelites’ emancipation from slavery. It is celebrated in the spring, typically during the month of Nisan (which falls between March and April). This year, it will be celebrated from April 5 through April 13.

The Passover festival lasts for eight days. During this time, Jewish people abstain from consuming leavened bread, or any foods made with leavening agents.

Instead, we eat matzo, unleavened bread made of flour and water that is a lot like a cracker. We eat this to commemorate the haste with which the Israelites left Egypt. They could only take what they had in the moment and didn’t have time to wait for their bread to rise.

The Passover meal, known as the seder, is a central part of the Passover celebration. The seder is a ritual feast that takes place on the first two nights of the festival, during which we tell the story of the exodus and its significance.

The seder plate contains several symbolic foods, each with its own significance. One of the things we eat in addition to the unleavened bread is maror, which are bitter herbs that symbolize the bitterness of slavery.

The Passover festival commemorates the story of the Israelites’ liberation from slavery in Egypt and their journey to freedom. Because of this, the story of Passover is a valuable reminder of the importance of freedom, justice, and human dignity.

This Passover has led me to ponder our own freedoms.

In the United States, we live in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

We live in an amazing country. But it seems that more and more of our freedoms are being challenged.

The freedom to choose for ourselves in so many aspects of our lives is being challenged in the highest courts. From what we wear to what we say to what we can read and even to what we can and can’t do to our bodies.

For example, as of January of this year, over 120 Bills restricting LGBTQ rights have been introduced nationwide. And this is just one of the many ways our freedoms are being restricted.

In so many ways, we are losing our ability to choose for ourselves and our rights are being taken away. So even though we may live in an amazing country, our freedoms seem to be changing quite quickly.

Still, there are things happening outside of the United States that are far worse.

Some people are fighting for their freedom with their own lives.

The Ukrainian People are at war—fighting every day for their freedom from oppression.

When I visited the Ukrainian border last year, I saw so much devastation from the refugees who crossed the border. But I also heard of people rising up to fight for what was most important to them.

The people there are good people. They are willing to sacrifice their own needs to help others who were hurt or displaced because war ravaged their homes.

So many crossed over the border to Poland with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

I can only imagine that as the war has continued these many months, there are many that have given their lives so that others may retain their freedom.

The war in Ukraine is a stark reminder of the value of freedom, and the ultimate price people are willing to pay to remain a free people.

Still, as these good men and women fight for their freedom, there are others who have no freedom at all.

Modern slavery occurs in almost every country in the world.

According to the International Labour Organization, there were 50 million people worldwide in modern slavery at the end of 2022. Modern slavery includes both forced labor and forced marriage.

The alarming thing is that these numbers are rising. And the women and children of the world are the ones who are disproportionately vulnerable.

Modern slavery is in nearly every country and cuts across cultural, ethnic, and religious lines.

Surprisingly, one-fourth of all forced marriages and over one-half of all forced labor occur in high-income or upper-middle-income countries. And the majority of forced labor (86%) occurs in the private sector.

When it comes to forced marriages, in 2021, it was estimated that 22 million people were living in these types of marriages on any given day that year.

These numbers are staggering to me. And we should all be alarmed that slavery is still happening in today’s world.

We may have abolished slavery in America, but it still exists in the world.

I think that a lot of times we go through our day-to-day lives and think that things are okay.

But when we stop and really look at what is happening in the world, the fact that there are still 50 million people considered to be in modern slavery shows us that we still have a lot of work to do in order to change that.

Passover is not just a reminder for the Jewish people.

Although Passover is a time for the Jewish people to commemorate the Israelites escaping from Egypt and starting a new life, it’s also a time for all of us to reflect on our freedoms.

It’s a time to remember how many people around the world are still suffering.

It’s my hope that the Passover story continues to inspire people around the world to work toward social justice and freedom for all people.

Passover is a reminder that freedom is a universal value that must be protected and celebrated by all people.

It’s also a time for us to be grateful for the things we have and to understand that there are still so many people who are in need and suffering.

There is so much good we can do in the world. And by remembering where we came from, we can move forward with greater hope for the future—a future where everyone lives in a land of the free and a home of the brave.

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